I had a pretty rude awakening this morning. Not a literal awakening, as that was quite gentle and came with the promise of hot coffee. No, this awakening was to how insecure our online world is these days. Now, I should point out that I was fully aware of these issues before today, but as time moves on you get complacent to the point that an event like what happened today really grates.
Every couple of days I drop by Twitter. It would be more often except that I’m self-aware enough to know that not everyone cares if I’ve cut my toenails (not recently), hot much chicken I ate (does a hammock count as a quantitative measurement these days?) or if I saw a thing. So I usually just drop in when I have something to say, absolutely must tell people about my toenail, chicken and thing situations or, as is usual, to see what others are saying. I use Twitter much like I use a news feed, with a few friends followed, but mostly companies so I can keep an eye on what they’re doing and maybe get some exclusive news from them. It’s worked that way for years.
This morning I logged into Twitter as part of my routine and wondered why my feed was filled with crap. It seemed that someone on my list was retweeting dozens of people and filling my timeline with stuff. As I didn’t recognise the name, I assumed I’d clicked on someone in a retweet by accident and so went to the list of people I was following to remove that person. It was there that I found out I’d been hacked.
I knew for a fact that I was following 59 accounts on Twitter, but this morning I suddenly had 91 accounts that I was following. I went through one by one, deleting those accounts and then revoking access to any applications that had been using Twitter to sign in to another place. Having done that I changed my password and left without reading anything as I hadn’t the inclination anymore. This afternoon I went back there and found that my feed was filled again and it turned out I was following 67 people this time. Not twelve hours after revoking application access and changing my password, my account had been violated again by someone who is no doubt a ten year old running code they found on the web.
So, if you’re following me on Twitter and am wondering what has happened, this right here is the reason that I am…